Djingareyber Mosque, Timbuktu, Mali

Djingareyber Mosque

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Located at what was likely a long-established crossroads along the trans-Saharan caravan routes, Timbuktu has been an urban center since at least the 12th century. Although for many Westerners Timbuktu has been associated with the folklore surrounding hidden African cities of gold, for Muslims, Timbuktu was long a renowned center of Islamic learning. At the center of this tradition of learning were three mosques: Djingareyber, built thanks to the patronage of Mansa Musa in c1325-1327; Sidi Yahia, built around the turn of the 15th century; and Sankore, also completed by the first half of the 15th century. Rebuilt many times, the three mosques also served as religious schools or madrasahs, where generations of scholars left behind significant archives in Arabic as well as a number of African languages in Arabic script.